Christmas will soon be here, yet some enter this season with a mixture of sadness, fear, or anxiety. Jesus never told us to celebrate his birthday; it is an invention of man. And there is good reason to celebrate this good gift, but maybe we lose the joy in it because we are not celebrating for the right reasons. I hope this three-part devotional study will take you to the light and provide a real reason to celebrate this season.
For most of us, Christmas is a gift-giving time of year. As we mediate on the true meaning of Christmas the question comes to mind, “Where does the joy come from?” Is it the gifts? The traditions?
Read and note the main message of the following verses:
1 Chronicles 29:1-10
- Do you really believe it?
So let us start at the beginning. If we have a good beginning, our investigation into the true gift of Christmas will lead us to a never-ending fountain of joy. In fact, that fountain will not just refresh us at Christmastime. Every moment of every day can be Christmas all over again!
Two remarkable writers, Luke and John, give us insights that go beyond the baby and the manger, or the shepherds and the wise men. However, these events do play a part in a big picture of the joy we receive from God’s good gifts.
Luke, a non-Jewish scholar, gives us a powerful story that begins before any of the other Gospel writers. He tells the story historically, and his background in Greek literature influences the writing. Luke was a historian and his formal introduction would have been common in other writings of this kind.
Read Luke 1:1-4. Note six things that indicate scholarship and trustworthiness.
The Greek words translated “Drawn up an account” refer to written testimonies. He is talking about things that have a spiritual connotation, a theological meaning and design. Luke has obviously researched the Old Testament teachings about the messiah in order to understand the events he intends to describe. Finally, the testimony of eyewitnesses Luke uses are also reliable. The word “investigate” has a strong meaning in English, but again, the Greek word is more. It means ‘an investigative reporter’ whose job depended on him getting the facts, only the facts, and all the facts.
|“Any theory of gospel origins that does not take into account all three sources that Luke lists is destined to be seriously flawed. Furthermore, Luke’s veracity can be verified by the fact that he admits, up-front that he, himself, was not an eyewitness” (Moore, The Chronological Life of Christ, 15).|
At Christmas time, a billboard in the state of New York boasted that the story of Jesus is a myth and urged a celebration of “reason during the season”.
- How would you answer this charge about the Christmas story after considering the validity of Luke’s account?
- What is the purpose or theme of Luke’s account from verse four?
Luke probably wrote his Gospel account around 60AD. Several eyewitnesses would still have been available for interviews.
- Mention some reasons why Luke might have had this purpose in mind, even though the events he was writing about had happened a relatively short time before.
A Deflection Test reveals whether a bridge is strong enough to hold the traffic it handles. Or whether a roof is still strong enough to withstand a heavy snowfall. Now is a good time for a “Faith Deflection Test”
Slowly and imperceptibly, constant attacks against the veracity of the Christmas story, and against Jesus himself, can weaken our faith. We may not realize that our sense of awe has waned and our trust has some weak spots. A nagging melancholy may hang over us…just enough to take the edge off the joy that should fill our hearts when we think of Jesus and His amazing life. So what about your faith?
- Is it holding you? Is it strong?
- Will your faith withstand the pressure of Satan and his lies?
- How will you make sure your faith has no ‘hairline fractures’?
Find a friend and discuss these things. Build each other up in the Lord.